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Great Chesapeake Bay Swim - 4.4 Mile - Swim

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Stevensville, Maryland
United States
Great Chesapeake Bay Swim
84F / 29C
Total Time = 3h 31m
Overall Rank = 555/617
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 57/58
Pre-race routine:

Wake up at 5am, ate banana and powerbar, coffee. Put on gear, get family up to take me to beach start. Load up travel bags and head to beach around 6:15am.
Event warmup:

  • 3h 31m 5s
  • 7744 yards
  • 02m 44s / 100 yards

Started in wave 2 because i put my guestimate completion time at 2:30. Due to a shoulder injury in mid march, I backed off swimming, went to PT and never got back to swim training. I was on the fence whether or not I would even try it after missing 11 weeks of training prior to race. I went to get an MRI for my shoulder the week before the race since it wasn't healing and still had pain. Doc said he did not see any tears and I wouldn't need surgery, but he saw inflamation and didn't know when it would get better. I asked if he thought it was ok to do the race and he said the shoulder is structurely sound, but my fitness would be the biggest issue. I got a little boost of confidence from the fact the shoulder was "structurely sound" and that was all I needed. I kept going through the decision over and over in my mind, but I decided I would rather try to cross the bay and fail than not try at all, so that is what I did. My only goal was not to get pulled from the race and end up on the "pier of shame". So that was my background. Now, the race morning was just about perfect. I talked to some swimmers, apparently most of them, at least those that I talked too, swam in college and were of various ages now. Many have done the race several times, 10X, 15X, etc. They all encouraged me that I could do it and that helped give me some confidence. At this time I wished I was in wave 1 becuase I was worried about finishing before cutoff and wave 1 started 15 minutes ahead of wave 2 and cutoffs were the same times for both waves. The first wave started and my anxiety increased, I lined up on the beach, and my anxiety was peaking, but I decided it would be what it would be and I would just go at my own pace. I let the majority of swimmers go and I followed on the back slowly, setting an easy pace. I kept going for a while and then came to the first aid station boat, wondering what distance this was I asked and he said 1.5 miles, I was hoping for more. I asked what time it was and he said 9 I think. At this point, I felt I was on track for my 2:30 time, but knew I would slow down later on, but was happy with the pace so far and the shoulder felt ok. I took my gel dispenser out of my leg pant and drank some water and then went back to work. Slow and steady, I came alongside a guy that was going my same pace and we kept each other company, without saying a word of course, it was like I had a friend out there in the vast open sea, but then I had to adjust my cap as it was coming off and he stayed on pace. I never caught up to him. Then I started to get tired and wanted to get some more gel in me, so I stopped at a kayak and he gave me water and I took some gel. Then treading water holding the kayak I got a bad cramp in my left leg, I thought it was over. I was worried that cramps would do me in and anytime I had a cramp in the pool, it was the end of that training day. I stretched it out in the water a little, the kayak guy said the water should help, so I drank some more. He said he'd done this race 15x and got cramps when he looked up. I decided I would just go back to it and see what happened. The cramp subsided almost magically and never bothered me again, it must have been from treading water is all I could think of. Then I saw the aid boat across the lane and thought, ok this must be mile 3, only a mile and half to go. Then, it got hard, the shoulder really started to hurt all along my bicep and moved up to my full shoulder on left side. The current was extremely strong and I realized I wasn't really going anywhere at my "easy" pace, which was probably slower at this point just from being tired, so I started to push harder, but still didn't feel like I was getting anywhere, I kept looking up and finally could see the shore, but it wasn't getting any closer. The current kept pushing me almost out of bounds and they warned that if you went outside the boundary, they would pull you, so I would get right up to the boundary and then push hard towards the middle only to tire and start swimming straight, then get pushed back to the boundary and repeat, repeat, repeat. A few times I thought the current was going to smack me up against the cement bridge legs. A kayaker came up and I was fighting it like hell, but not going very far, she asked me if I needed a rest, I just looked up at her, looked out and kept going, I wasn't going to give up and decided I didn't want to stop at this point. I would fight until the end or they pulled me, which I was really worried about at this point. I said to myself, I made it through an ironman, marathon and I am going to make it through this, I pushed through extreme pain in my shoulder, slowly counting past the bridge legs to get to shore, but the shore was just where we turned to go to the finish. Once I got to the turn I was losing my mind and had to ask where to go, they directed me and I got on the other side of the bridge and started swimming again, wow, I was actually moving, pain was hell, but I actually was moving, the current was gone. Then I looked up and people were walking, I stood up and I could touch, it was only a few feet deep. I was exhausted, then another swimmer came up and asked why everyone was walking and said that wasn't fair, she said she'd gone through all this and then started swimming. I felt, that was the right attitude and went out to deeper water and swam to the finish as did most of the other swimmers. I crossed the finish, not realizing I was out there for 3:31 hours, but I did it and I finished and that is all that mattered to me. Samantha and Maya were at the finish cheering and congratulating me on my accomplishment. All was good.
What would you do differently?:

Not get injured and probably not swim this if I didn't train, but since it was my first time, i wanted to finish what I started or at least try to finish and finish I did. I just hit the wall at mile 3 due to injury, strong current and lack of endurance swim training for last couple of months.
Post race
Warm down:


What limited your ability to perform faster:

training and shoulder injury

Event comments:

Great race, would do it again. I love swimming and this is a real swimmers swim.

Last updated: 2013-01-09 12:00 AM
03:31:05 | 7744 yards | 02m 44s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/58
Overall: 0/617
Performance: Bad
Suit: Xterra Vector Pro sleeveless
Course: The race starts from the shores of Sandy Point State Park, which is about 5 miles northeast of Annapolis. The course extends eastward between the two spans of the William Preston Lane, Jr., Memorial Bridge (U.S. Highway 50) and finishes at a small sandy beach on Kent Island immediately south of the Bridge eastern-shore causeway adjacent to Hemingway's Restaurant.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 76F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Average Navigation: Below average
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Ok
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2013-06-12 9:19 PM

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Subject: Great Chesapeake Bay Swim - 4.4 Mile
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General Discussion Race Reports! » Great Chesapeake Bay Swim - 4.4 Mile Rss Feed  

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